SXSW: Motorhead at Stubbs
...wasn't nearly as loud as expected, but this kid was prepared.
The last time I saw Motorhead was a few years back at the Ogden Theatre with Corrosion of Conformity. Stupid me, I forgot to bring earplugs. I knew better. Not sure what the hell I was thinking. Anyhow, about a quarter of the way into the set, just as Lemmy's telling the sound guy to turn it up, I can seriously feel my eardrums about to burst. Desperate, I do the only logical thing I can think of -- I snap the filters off of my cigarettes and shove them into my ears. After I smoked them, of course. (This was obviously prior to Denver's draconian smoking ban taking effect.)
Needless to say, we didn't have that problem this afternoon at Stubbs. Not sure if it was because we were so far back that by the time the sound waves reached us they were buffered by the teeming throng or if we were being presented with a kinder, gentler Motorhead. No matter. Lemmy and the boys sounded just fine to me. In fact, they sounded pretty much like they always do. Seriously. Not much more to say about the gig other than that. The performance was about as workmanlike as you'd expect. Lemmy donned his ever-present trademark shades and was clad in a black button up (unbuttoned to his sternum, naturally) and black jeans and played in front of a wall of Marshalls and a giant backdrop emblazoned with the iconic Motorhead logo.
Midway through the set, my buddy Whitey turns to me and makes a comment about how weird outdoor metal shows are. "Normally they smell like a mixture of sweat and a bit of weed," he noted, before going on to assert that, "most of these people look just like him," nodding to our other buddy Manzig, a gangly duder who's perpetually clad in black, that looks just Danzig, only emoer. "They probably shouldn't be out in the sun. I don't think their skin is used to being exposed."
Hmm... typecast much, amigo?
As grin-inducing as that exchage was, it was not nearly as amusing as watching our friend Rick -- who founded and runs the Mile High chapter of the Turbo Jugend -- being greeted by an Austin Jugend associate. Just after he was glad handed by his fellow Turbonegro fanatic, I told Rick that he reminded me of Gonzo in Muppets In Space when the crooked-nosed creature finally met his kinfolk. Now, even though Rick's my boy, I have to say that fanatic is a perfectly apt for anyone who shells out more than $150 for a jean jacket. As I see it, parting with that kind of loot for a denim jacket with some embroidery, that makes him a wee bit of a zealot.
Not that the rest of us have much room to talk. Let's not forget that we're the same idiots who were queued on the sidewalk in a line that snaked around the adjacent buildings through half of High On Fire -- who absolutely torched the place as always, btw.
Ah, SXSW. Gotta love it. I mean, where in the hell else are you going to see Napalm Death, High On Fire and Motorhead on the same fucking bill?! Righteous.
-- Dave Herrera
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.